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Kasganj violence: Police refuse permission for VHP’s Tiranga Yatra in Uttar Pradesh

The Tiranga Yatra by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was stopped at Firozabad, while in Mathura and Mainpuri, police said no march would be allowed.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2018 16:43 IST
Kasganj violence,Kasganj clashes,Tiranga Yatra
A protest against the death of local resident Abhishek Gupta in Kasganj on Tuesday. Gupta was shot dead in last week’s communal violence in the Uttar Pradesh town. (PTI)

Police in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday refused permission to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Tiranga Yatra across the state after a 23-year-old man died in communal clashes in a Muslim-majority area of Kasganj last week during a similar rally by members of the RSS-affiliated students’ group ABVP.

The decision to deny permission to the Tiranga Yatra or Tricolour March came a day after chief minister Yogi Adityanath said maintaining law and order should be accorded top priority and that no one should be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere.

Senior leaders of the right-wing organisation and the BJP said the Parishad decided to tone down its stand after deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma talked to them over the phone and sought their support in maintaining law and order situation.

The VHP’s Braj region leader Sunil Parashar, however, said that Tiranga Yatras proceeded as per schedule in all the 20 districts of western UP, a claim rebutted by police chiefs of the area. The organisation’s Ayodhya-based leader Sharad Sharma also brushed aside the query whether they would comply with the police’s directive to seek permission for the march.

“Do we have to seek permission to take out a Tiranga Yatra? So far as sloganeering goes, what’s wrong with saying ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Pakistan Murdabad’? Do you want us to say ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ instead?” Sharma said.

There were no reports of the rally in any district of Bareilly and Moradabad divisions. In places such as Agra, the VHP’s activists shouted slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ and decided to submit a memorandum to the district authorities.

“In Firozabad, the police stopped Tiranga Yatra that was being taken out without permission from Kotla Chowki,” superintendent of police RK Singh said.

Mainpuri’s senior superintendent of police Rajesh D said no permission for the march had been sought and indicated that the procession would not be allowed.

“If it has not been allowed in Agra, it won’t be allowed here as well. If somebody wants to hand over a memorandum to us they can do so,” a senior official of Mainpuri district administration said.

In Mathura, superintendent of police (rural) Aditya Shukla said the march will not be allowed without permission.

There were reports that the VHP was going ahead with its plan to take out a symbolic march from Goverdhan — a religious place in Mathura. However, the march had not begun till late Wednesday afternoon.

VHP leaders are demanding the status of martyr for Abhishek Gupta, a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to his family, a government job to his relative, a house and the release of all the Hindus arrested in connection with the clashes since the Republic Day.

At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Gupta was killed in clashes following stone-pelting by a mob during a motorcycle rally to celebrate the Republic Day last week. At least 118 people have been arrested in connection with the violence.

Tension prevailed in a few pockets of the western Uttar Pradesh town. Life, however, appeared to be returning to normal. Stray incidents of violence were reported from Kasganj on Tuesday, but the situation was by and large peaceful on Wednesday.

The state government has come under fire over the clashes with governor Ram Naik terming the Kasganj violence a “blot” on the state. Opposition parties have also attacked the BJP government over the clashes.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 16:13 IST